Saturday, September 16, 2017

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending September 16)

So, it turns out that one-copy Wu-Tang Clan album owned by Martin Shkreli might not really be a legitimate Wu-Tang Clan release. The record does include verses from the members, but were recorded under the belief that they would be for a Cilvaringz album. So, if you're still thinking about buying it on eBay, buyer beware!

If the Wu-Tang clan do announce an official album anytime soon, be sure to look for it on my Upcoming Releases page!

This week, Mavis Staples announced her 16th album, If All I Was Was Black.

Staples has had a long career stretching back to 1950 as a member of the gospel and R&B group The Staples Singers with her father and siblings. She first went solo in 1969 with a self-titled album and has been recording steadily since.

She has enjoyed a late-career resurgence around 2010, spurred in part by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. Since then, she has worked extensively with Tweedy, as well as with Arcade Fire, M. Ward, and Gorillaz, and many other younger artists.

Tweedy produced this latest album from her, which was announced on Monday along with the album's title track.

If All I Was Was Black is set to be released on November 17.

Also announced this week:

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Wrong Creatures (January 12)
Carla dal Forno - The Garden EP (October 6)
Dan Deacon - Rat Film (October 13)
Fatima Al Qadiri - Shaneera (October 13)
Frightened Rabbit - Recorded Songs (out now)
Grandaddy - Under the Western Freeway: 20th Anniversary Edition (October 20)
Four Tet - New Energy (September 29)
Jamie Lidell - Extended Beginnings (September 18)
Liima - 1982 (November 3)
R.E.M. - Automatic for the People Reissue (November 10)
Rapsody - Laila’s Wisdom (September 22)
SPORTS/Plush Split EP (October 20)
Tomas Barfod - Paloma (November 3)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

New Music Friday - July 21, 2017

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Lana Del Rey - Lust for Life

Del Rey's work has always been marked by her penchant for moodiness. The smile on the cover of her latest album indicates a slightly lighter mood for the record. She's an artist who just keeps getting better, expanding her stylistic influences, guest vocalists, and moods on this latest record.

Watch: "Lust for Life" (featuring The Weeknd)
Watch: "Love"

Nicole Atkins - Goodnight Rhonda Lee

Nicole Atkins fourth album comes ten years after her debut, Neptune City, and follows a period of transition for the artist. She's on a new record label, has relocated from New Jersey to Nashville, and is working with a new production team. Rhonda Lee is a reference to Atkins' self-professed alter ego, one that comes out when she's acting up. Perhaps the album is an attempt to exorcise that part of herself.

Watch: "Listen Up"
Listen: "Goodnight Rhonda Lee"

Tyler, The Creator - Flower Boy

This latest album from Tyler, The Creator, seems to expose some revelatory truths about the rapper. Response to much of his early work was punctuated by accusations of homophobia (not totally undeserved). On this album, though, he seems to reference his own homosexual experiences. He's matured quite a bit since starting his career; Flower Boy is the apex of that maturation and the first time I've been able to take him really seriously.

Listen: "Ain’t Got Time"
Listen: "Boredom"

Other Full-Length Releases

Avey Tare - Eucalyptus

Listen: "Roamer"
Listen: "Melody Unfair"

Meek Mill - Wins & Losses

Watch: "Issues"
Watch: "Young Black America" (featuring The-Dream)

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Deap Vally - Femejism Unplugged

Watch: "Turn It Off"

Denitia - Ceilings

Listen: "Planes"
Listen: "Ceilings"

En Route - Then Is a Song

Listen: "I Am the Problem"
Listen: "Dumb"

Violent Femmes - 2 Mics & the Truth

Listen: "Untrue Love"
Listen: "It’s Gonna Rain"

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending September 9)

It's only been 13 years since the song was released, but Kelis finally gave us her recipe for a milkshake that will bring all the boys to the yard. It involves chocolate ice cream, ginger, chili powder, and Bailey's, and it sounds delicious. So get out there and start collecting those boys!

Kelis is a trained chef who has released one food-related album. If she comes back with another, be sure to check it out over at my Upcoming Releases page!

This week, we got an announcement that was widely expected, St. Vincent announced her fifth solo album, MASSEDUCTION.

It's been just three years since Annie Clark's last album, 2014's St. Vincent, though she's hardly been silent since. She released a one-off single, "Teenage Talk", covered the Rolling Stones for the A Bigger Splash soundtrack, and appeared on The Chemical Brothers' latest record.

She released "New York" earlier this year and it first it seemed like it would be another one-off. Following her appearance on Hrishikesh Hirway's Song Exploder and a few strange promotional videos, a new album seemed likely. We got the announcement on Wednesday along with another new single, "Los Ageless".

MASSEDUCTION is set for release on October 13.

Also announced this week:

Björk - “The Gate” (September 18)
Brian Wilson - Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology (September 22)
Charlotte Gainsbourg - Rest (November 19)
Dvsn - Morning After (October 13)
Jessie Ware - Glasshouse (October 20)
King Krule - The Ooz (October 13)
Margo Price - All American Made (October 20)
Mas Ysa - Untitled EP (out now)
Michael Jackson - Scream (September 29)
Queen - News of the World 40th Anniversary Reissue (November 17)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending September 2)

I've been watching a pretty cool You-Tube series called Hot Ones from First We Feast. The show features interviews with musicians, athletes, and actors as the host and guest eat gradually hotter wings. I've even purchased one of the hot sauces featured on the show. Past guests have included rappers Vince Staples, A$AP Ferg, and Action Bronson, and all are pretty awesome episodes, check it out!

If any of the artists featured on Hot Ones decide to write albums about their experience, be sure to check it out over at my Upcoming Releases page!

This week, Ibeyi announced their sophomore album, Ash.

Ibeyi is a set of twins, Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz, who released a spectacular self-titled debut album in 2015. The girls are the daughters of the late Buena Vista Social Club drummer, Anga Díaz,. Their music has incorporated elements of their father's Afro-Cuban, the French of their births, as well as soul, R&B, and experimental music.

They announced their sophomore album on Thursday along with the Kamasi Washington-featuring first track, "Deathless". Additional guest appearances on the record include Chilly Gonzales, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Mala Rodriguez.

Ash is set for release on September 29.

Also announced this week:

Casper Skulls - Mercy Works (November 3)
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile - Lotta Sea Lice (October 13)
Deradoorian - Eternal Recurrence (October 6)
Esmerine - Mechanics of Dominion (October 20)
Gunn-Truscinski Duo - Bay Head (November 3)
Mastodon - Cold Dark Place (September 22)
OCS - Memory of a Cut Off Head (November 17)
Shamir - Revelations (November 3)
Sincerely, L. Cohen: A Live Celebration of Leonard Cohen (September 21)

New Music Friday - July 14, 2017

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Japanese Breakfast - Soft Sounds from Another Planet

Japanese Breakfast is the stage name of Michelle Zauner, who released her debut album, Psychopomp, only last year. On Soft Sounds, she continues writing very personal lyrics, but puts it a little further out of this world with a bit of sci-fi imagery. She also expands her sound beyond the intimate bedroom pop of her debut.

Watch: "Road Head"
Watch: "Machinist"

Offa Rex - The Queen of Hearts

Offa Rex is basically every member of the Decemberists along with English singer Olivia Chaney. Together, they perform psychedelic folk interpretations of folk music from the British Isles.

Watch: "The Old Churchyard"
Watch: "Blackleg Miner"

The Pollyseeds - The Sounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1

The Pollyseeds is the latest project from musician Terrace Martin, who released a solo album, Velvet Portrait, just last year. For the new band, he teams up with a few other R&B/hip hop instrumental heavyweights, including Robert Glasper and Kamasi Washington.

Watch: "Intentions" (featuring Chachi)
Listen: "Mama D/Leimert Park"

Sheer Mag - Need to Feel Your Love

Sheer Mag is a five-piece band out of Philadelphia fronted by Tina Halladay. Their music combines their loves of punk and classic rock. They have made a name for themselves with a series of EPs released from 2014 to 2016. Need to Feel Your Love is their debut full-length.

Watch: "Suffer Me"
Listen: "Need to Feel Your Love"

Waxahatchee - Out in the Storm

If you love the Crutchfield twins, this has been a good year for you. Earlier this year, Allison Crutchfield released her debut solo record, and now her twin sister Katie is releasing her fourth album as Waxahatchee. The recording of this album was less of a solo affair than 2015's Ivy Tripp, with Katie Harkin, Katherine Simonetti, Ashley Arnwine, and Allison rounding out the musicians on the record.

Watch: "No Curse"
Watch: "Silver"

Other Full-Length Releases

French Montana - Jungle Rules

Watch: "A Lie" (featuring The Weeknd & Max B)
Listen: "Stop It"

Mr. Jukes - God First

Watch: "Grant Green" (featuring Charles Bradley)
Watch: "Angels / Your Love" (featuring BJ the Chicago Kid)

Mura Masa - Mura Masa

Watch: "1 Night" (featuring Charli XCX)
Watch: "All Around the World" (featuring Desiigner)


Watch: "This Song" (featuring Rostam)
Watch: "I Still Wanna Know" (featuring Rivers Cuomo)

Shabazz Palaces - Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star

Watch: "Shine a Light" (featuring Thaddillac)
Listen: "Since C.A.Y.A." (featuring Thundercat)

Shabazz Palaces - Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines

Watch: "30 Clip Extension"
Listen: "Effeminence" (featuring Fly Guy Das)

Us and Us Only - Full Flower

Watch: "Full Flower"
Watch: "Kno"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Coldplay - Kaleidoscope EP

Watch: "A L I E N S"
Watch: "All I Can Think About Is You"

Evergreen: A Benefit Compilation for Hour Children

Listen: Sadie Dupuis - "Meat of Contract" (Speedy Ortiz demo)

The Radio Dept. - Teach Me to Forget

Listen: "Teach Me to Forget"
Listen: "Just So"

New Music Friday - July 7, 2017

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Broken Social Scene - Hug of Thunder

Hug of Thunder is the fifth album from this Canadian collective, which counts Kevin Drew, Emily Haines, and Amy Millan as members. The album came about following a spate of festival performances for the band from 2013 to 2015. They were inspired to "get the band back together", so to speak. Interestingly, the new album comes in around the same time that several of the band's members also have new solo records out, including Feist, Emily Haines, and Brendan Canning.

Listen: "Halfway Home"
Listen: "Hug of Thunder"

HAIM - Something to Tell You

The Haim sisters broke out in 2013 with Days Are Gone. A good album, but not one that really blew me away. The early singles from this follow-up got me pretty excited for the record, which I think is better that their debut. The band re-entered the studio soon after completing their tour for Days and worked with a great set of producers, George Lewis Jr. (Twin Shadow), BloodPop, Rostam, Ariel Rechtshaid, and themselves!

Watch: "Want You Back"
Listen: "Right Now"

This Is the Kit - Moonshine Freeze

This Is the Kit is Kate Stables, who released her debut album, Krulle Bol, in 2008. Moonshine Freeze is her fourth record. She has always worked with a wide variety of musicians on her albums. Her follow-up to 2015's Bashed Out sees the return of The National's Aaron Dessner providing guitar and piano.

Listen: "Bullet Proof"

Toro Y Moi - Boo Boo

Boo Boo comes just two years after Chaz Bundick's last record as Toro Y Moi, What For?. It's not his first release this year. In March, he teamed up with The Mattson 2 as Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2 for Star Stuff. The new album under his most well-known moniker was inspired by a variety of other artists, including Travis Scott and Daft Punk, and was made to help Bundick deal with his own growing popularity.

Watch: "Omaha"
Watch: "You and I"

Other Full-Length Releases

Mark Kozelek & Sean Yeaton - Yellow Kitchen

Listen: "The Reasons I Love You"
Listen: "Time to Destination"

Pawns - The Gallows

Listen: "Damascus"
Listen: "The Cross"

Sarah Jaffe - Bad Baby

Watch: "Bad Baby"
Listen: "Synthetic Love"

Tristen - Sneaker Waves

Watch: "Glass Jar" (featuring Jenny Lewis)
Watch: "Got Some"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

DJ Shadow - The Mountain Has Fallen

Watch: "Systematic" (featuring Nas)
Watch: "Corridors" (featuring Steven Price)

Olga Bell - America

Watch: "Special Leave"
Listen: "America"

So Many Singing: A Compilation to Benefit Immigrant Rights

Listen: Half Waif - "Cary"

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending August 26)

It was my 30th birthday this weekend, on Friday to be exact. My weekend has been filled with good friends, celebrations, and the impending dread that life is pretty much over (just kidding). I've been blessed to have a pretty good life, and to have a few dedicated readers of this blog. To those of you out there reading this, I thank you, and remind you to check out my Upcoming Releases page!

This week, the RZA announced a new album, Wu-Tang: The Saga Continues.

Though not billed as a Wu-Tang Clan album, many members of the legendary hip hop group will appear on the record. As a group, they released their last widely-available album, A Better Tomorrow, in 2014. They did follow that up in 2015 with Once Upon a Time in Shoalin, but only released one copy of the album and sold it ’to the highest bidder.

That album saw them become mired in a controversy not of their own making because that buyer was the much-beloved [*sarcasm*] Martin Shkreli. The band placed 88-year commercial ban on the record (not all members were on board with that decision). With that ban coming to an end in 2103, it's unlikely any of us will ever hear the record.

The new album was announced on Friday along with a new track, "People Say".

Also announced this week:

Beck - Colors (October 13)
The Jet Age of Tomorrow - God’s Poop or Clouds? (September 15)
Karl Blau - Out Her Space (November 17)
King Krule - “Czech One” (out now)
Lindstrøm - It’s Alright Between Us As It Is (October 20)
Morrissey - Low in High School (November 17)
Quiet Slang - We Were Babies & We Were Dirtbags (October 20)
Stars - There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light (October 13)
Syd - Always Never Home (September 8)
Wiki - No Mountains in Manhattan (out now)
William Patrick Corgan - Ogilala (October 13)